10 September 2012

Mystery Maritime Explorers, Miri-Day 6 & 7

After arriving back at the marina, we get an interview with their benefactor on the wreak project, local businessman and owner of the marina, Troy Yaw.  Later in the morning we head back out again to get a selection of underwater pick-up shots.  The rest of the day and the next is spent conducting interviews with everyone and getting one last group discussion.  Saturday, Eric and I are heading back to KK.  Overall, we feel we have gotten some good footage and the makings of a very interesting story. 

Mystery Maritime Explorers, South China Sea, Luconia Shoals-Day 5

Conditions hold for another two dives before some swells come up from the southwest making further dives more treacherous.  There was a unusual shape the showed up on the depth sounder on the way in, so we decide to go check it out.  We make several attempt to get a drop line on it but the current takes our line out of position and it is too deep to dive on safely.  Returning to the reef we pick up our mooring line but with the swells coming in, Hans doesn't feel it is secure and we are surrounded on three sides by reef.  So it is decided with conditions deteriorating we will head back to Miri.

Mystery Maritime Explorers, South China Sea, Luconia Shoals-Day 4

HMS Viscount Melbourne
We arrive at the reef to over 2 dozen little fishing boat and their 'mother ship' off in the distance.  These are apparently Chinese fishermen flying under a Malaysian flag to fish these reefs.  They are not sure what we are about so they just go about their business like we were not even there.  We get an anchor out and later will set up on a mooring that Hans arranged the last time they were out here.  Phil, Roze and Tristan prepare for the first dive.  Eric is ready before them and goes in with his camera.  Most of the time is spent setting up the delivery system with two baskets on lines along with a floater to bring it up to the surface.  The floaters have a habit of leaking so the lines are there as a precaution.  At a depth of 40 meters the divers are limited to just 9 minutes so they have to work fast.    As per usual, the floater fails on both baskets and they are hauled up with the line.  Conditions are good so there will be two more dives during the day.  Later after dark, Eric takes Tristan down for a night dive, with the lights used for filming the wreak takes on a little more clarity than during the day and they are able to get a much clearer outline of the ship.

Mystery Maritime Explorers, Miri-Day 3

When morning arrived, things had settled down and we made our way back into the marina.  A few of the neighbours help us tie up back in the berth and we all settle down for some breakfast and to rearrange our plans.  Since we needed to wait again until the afternoon before heading out again (this is so we arrive at the reef in the early morning), we decided it was a good opportunity to film Roze's interview in the artefacts room in the flat.  From Roze we learned how they came to find the wreak of the Viscount Melbourne, a detail account from the assistant ship's navigator of what happen after the ship struck the reef and the work she is doing to preserve the artefacts that they have brought up from the ship.  After the interview, Eric and I continued to film all the artefacts that were on display and met up with the rest of the crew back on the Southern Sun.  Fortunately, our second departure out to the Luconia Shoals was without problems and we had a smooth sail through the night.